What to do?

You get to the home you were hired to inspect, and you find that the water has been turned off at the main.  Do you turn it on?

Some inspectors will say “absolutely not”, others will say “of course, how else am I supposed to check the plumbing”.  Other inspectors will advise their clients that the utilities should be turned on before anyone shows up for the inspection.

Why shouldn’t an inspector turn on the water?  That question became painfully clear to a realtor on a recent inspection I did.

If the water is off, I do not turn it on.  As I was finishing up outside and setting up inside the house, unbeknownst to me, the realtor had turned on the main.  Both he and the client were in the basement.  Several minutes later, I hear them scrambling, the kitchen is flooding!  Even the water meter was leaking.  It was a lot of water.  The realtor spent the next 40 minutes trying to mop everything up.  No easy task in a vacant house with not so much as a paper towel.

I don’t think the realtor realized the extent of his error.  As I proceeded with my inspection, I could see that the basement walls, ceiling and flooring in the basement had been saturated with water.  This will most likely cost thousands to remediate. 

So, I ask you again, do you turn the water on?

Make the smart choice.

Stephen Ferland - NHI #903, PHPI
A Home Check LTD [http://www.ahomecheck.ca]
Member of PHPIC
Board of Directors PHPIC

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